BGE Has Restored Service to Nearly 50 Percent of Customers Affected Within 24 Hours of the Storm’s Passing
Public safety, critical customers and system infrastructure remain priorities
More than 250 additional out-of-state personnel expected by mid-week, bringing to more than 3,800, the total number of BGE, contract and external personnel actively engaged in the restoration effort
BALTIMORE, Aug. 29, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it expects to restore electric service to the vast majority of customers currently without service by late Friday with some isolated outages that may extend into Saturday. The utility is actively responding to more than 5,000 reports of downed wires and continues to urge customers to report downed wires that have not already been reported by calling 877-778-2222. Nearly 800,000 customer calls have been handled by BGE’s call center either by live representatives, automated or remote call centers. In total, more than 3,800 BGE, contract and external personnel are actively engaged in storm restoration. Customers are reminded to stay informed on restoration progress via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
“Hurricane Irene’s high wind and heavy rain caused widespread, horrific damage throughout our Central Maryland Service area, including many individual cases of trouble caused by whole trees and large tree branches,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning. “More than a thousand out-of-state linemen and support staff began arriving in Maryland last Wednesday. These external resources, along with BGE employees and contractors, have been working around-the-clock to restore service to customers as safely and as quickly as possible. They will continue to work tirelessly until service to each and every one of our customers is restored.”
The total number of customers who lost service at some point during Hurricane Irene and its immediate aftermath is estimated at roughly 680,000. At its peak, which occurred between 9 and 10 a.m. Sunday morning, there were approximately 466,000 customers without service. Since the storm first began impacting BGE’s service area Saturday afternoon, BGE has restored service to more than 327,000 customers in less than 48 hours. BGE’s focus today is on public safety and critical customers, and is placing a strong emphasis on restoring the utility’s 33kV feeder network, which provides the backbone for BGE’s electric distribution network.
“While the number of new outages resulting from weakened trees and tree limbs falling onto power lines is expected to diminish throughout the week, customers are still reminded to report new power outages by calling 1-877-778-2222,” Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “The information provided to BGE by its customers is critically important in helping the utility determine the size and scope of outages, however, customers should only report their outages once. As a reminder, BGE no longer distributes dry ice, a decision made by BGE following Hurricane Isabel in 2003. This allows BGE to fully devote its attention and resources to the restoration effort.”
As always, restoration priorities are public safety matters such as downed wires and critical infrastructure which includes 911 centers, hospitals and water treatment facilities. Once these issues have been addressed, field assignments will be prioritized in order to restore service to the greatest number of customers at a time. Consideration will also be given to customers who have been out of service the longest.
Those BGE customers who may be elderly, handicapped or dependent on electricity for medical equipment and are currently without power should consider seeking alternate living arrangements if they haven’t done so already. Customers using a generator should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas. For more information about BGE storm preparation and how customers can protect their families and property, go to www.bge.com.
In addition to monitoring current and approaching weather conditions which could result in service interruptions, BGE regularly conducts emergency training drills during which all aspects of storm related service restoration are tested. BGE also reviews its Electric Delivery Emergency Response Plan to ensure that storm response procedures are up-to-date and in line with industry standards.
BGE, www.bge.com, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 640,000 natural gas customers in Central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,000 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. BGE is a subsidiary of Constellation Energy, www.constellation.com, a FORTUNE 500 company also headquartered in Baltimore, with subsidiaries that generate, sell and provide other energy-related services to customers throughout North America.